CAMRA NI calls for urgent support as pubs start closing until new year

The chairperson of consumer group CAMRA NI has responded to the crisis in the beer and pubs sector as The Sunflower in Belfast (pictured) decides to close its doors until January.

Ruth Sloan said, “It is devastating, if not entirely surprising, that pubs like The Sunflower feel they have no other choice but to close their doors until the new year.

“This should be the busiest time of the year for our pubs and our great local breweries and cider producers. Instead of getting money through the tills to help them recover and rebuild after the past two years, they now face another crisis as people are being urged to stay away and as more and more staff are forced to quarantine.

“It is absolutely vital that ministers in the Executive and the UK Government work together to come up with an urgent support package for pubs, brewers and the supply chain to help them cope with cancellations, staffing problems and the downturn in consumer confidence as a result of omicron.'

Sloan warned, “Without this vital financial compensation for loss of crucial Christmas trade and to help meet staffing bill and other fixed costs, we risk losing any progress we have made to rebuild our once-thriving pub businesses and safeguard them for the future.”